Two small stones sit atop my office desk, each engraved with a single word. One says, “Imagine.” The other says, “Create.” Those two words have made all the difference for me. I believe that success is limited only by our ability to imagine what we want and to lead ourselves to it. That ability to imagine, create, lead and succeed is rooted in a few key characteristics:

  • CHARACTER: True success always begins with who you are. How we deal with the circumstances of life speaks volumes about our character. Crisis does not necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. What do you need to focus on to become the person you were intended to be?
  • RELATIONSHIP SKILLS: The ability to work with people and develop relationships is indispensable to success. Remember, you are a leader only if you have followers, and that always requires development of relationships. Build enough of the right kinds of relationships with the right people and you can become a real leader—and a real success—in any situation.
  • PASSION: Your desire determines your destiny. Weak desire brings weak results. By contrast, burning desire compels you toward greatness.
  • SELF-DISCIPLINE: Success requires individual effort. Individual effort requires self-discipline. Self-discipline requires us to examine our conversations with ourselves—the ones in which we make excuses for why we, as individuals, cannot achieve what we want. Those are just excuses, in my book. There will always be obstacles—some of them will be real. Self-discipline empowers you to overcome obstacles— perceived and otherwise—to achieve your dreams.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: If not you, who? Responsible people never say, “That is not my job, not my place, not my responsibility.” If they believe in a vision, they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it. The ultimate quality of a responsible person is the ability to finish.